Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner spoke in Rockford Thursday to tout a new school funding framework.
The governor paid a visit to the Barbour Two-Way Immersion School, which provides instruction in both English and Spanish. “We are going to change the way schools are funded in Illinois, improve it, get more resources overall, and especially more resources for lower-income schools that don’t have access to the same advantages as higher-income schools.”
The framework, developed by a 25-member bipartisan commission, says state aid would go first to struggling districts unable to raise enough property taxes.
Education Secretary Beth Purvis, who accompanied the governor, says it measures a district’s adequacy using a variety of factors, including low-income students and concentration of poverty.
"We also need to take a look at what percentages of English languages learners are served, what are the needs of students with disabilities. We need to look at the regionalization factors that have to do with the cost of running schools, and it also has operational elements. What does it cost to run the school buildings on a day-to-day [basis]?"
She says Illinois ranks 16th overall in terms of average school funding, but has one of the largest monetary gaps in funding between rich and poor districts. The new funding framework aims to correct this inequity, but will require accompanying legislation.
The president of the Harlem Federation of Teachers released a statement following the Governor's visit. In it, he said all Illinois citizens deserve to have a government that considers all of their needs when taking on the challenge of school and social service funding. It said to hold any of these programs and their recipients QUOTE "hostage" to his personal political goals shows the indifference he has for those citizens.